We are adding the following whites: Albarin (no relation to Albarino), Bukettraube, Cividin, Eva de los Santos, Maria Gomez, Mtsivane, Passerina, Roter Veltliner, Terret, Tsolikauri, Verdil and Vitovska.
New Reds include Albarossa, Bonarda del Otrepo Pavese/Croatina, Carcaghjolu Neru, Frappato (if only in the lighter style of Feudo di Santa Tresa), Cesar, Gamaret, Garanoir, Grignolino, Hondarrabi Beltza, Juan Garcia, Moravia Agra, Ribeyrenc, Tinta Barocca, Tsimlyanskiy and Xinomavro.
These are mentioned in our posts and may be found with the help of our handy search engine (above left). We apologise for not updating our list more frequently.
Just in case it seems that a grape only has to be obscure to be admitted to the illustrious Slotovino Hall of Fame, here are some recently refused entry;
This list is admittedly idiosyncratic to an extreme because it is composed of what are to US new discoveries: we do not include what are in our opinion familiar varieties. A good example might be Fer Servadou/Braucol or Mondeuse which we expect anyone interested in wine to have encountered.
So this is how the list of successful varieties now looks;
Bombino (Trebbiano d'Abruzzo)
Eva de los Santos
Len de l'Oiel
Welschriesling (Riesling Italico)
Bonarda del Otrepo Pavese/Croatina
Perricone (aka. Pignatello)
Uva di Troia
Just a few notes on the newcomers;
makes light, pure and nicely acidic refreshing wines. There is a case to be made that Spain is better at White Wine than Italy whose whites so often have a bitter almond taste on the finish.
Bukettraube from Cederberg was a revelation. Aromatic indeed and despite warnings that it is best drunk young, doesn't keep etc. was able to withstand quite a bit of bottle age (ours was 2006 vintage), bad storage (it had spent a long time standing up) and a week in the fridge with a Vacu Vin stopper. We likesd it a lot.
Cividin was most original; the most golden colour imaginable this side of Barsac, it was nonetheless dry and full of personality.
Mtsvane and Tsolikauri had been stars of our January 2011 tasting and we have praised Passerina in this blog for its role in making a good alternative to Prosecco whose brand is beginning to look unstoppable. The Prosecco grape is more properly named Glera, let it be remembered.
Roter Veltliner amazingly enough is no relation to Guener Veltliner but is similar in taste and just as lovely. Even more extraordinary is the fact that it is very ancient and is ancestor to Neuburger, Rotgipfler and Zierfandler. How did it manage to evade our radar until now?
Albarossa. A crossing between Nebbiolo and Barbera. An obvious thing to do but the result is good.
Bonarda del Otrepo Pavese/Croatina. This has been one of our favourites for a long time so its exclusion from the SHOF (Slotovino Hall Of Fame) cannot be explained.
Carcaghjolu Neru. We recently found this at L'Epicerie in Aix-en-Provence, The price tag is weighty but so is the wine. This Corsican rarity is something like Pugnitello, Casavecchia or Juan Garcia. A sort of identi-kit winter warmer but none the worse for that.
Frappato (if only in the lighter style of Feudo di Santa Tresa). We had not been bowled over by Frappato until we tasted it in this lighter style which suited the grape's character perfectly in our humble opinion. We're sure the producer Feudo di Santa Tresa would agree with us.
Cesar. This dates back to before the existence of this blog. Since then it has proved very difficult to find an example of 100% Cesar and yet it is one of the permitted grapes of Burgundy no less. We still remember the wonderful wine made from Cesar in purezza so that should mean something.
Gamaret, Garanoir. We love both these inspired Swiss crossings. You can't go wrong with either. They are both crossings of Gamay and Reichensteiner. The first is intended for French Switzerland and the second for the German part. They are full siblings whatever that means.
Grignolino. The "vino da ragazza" as the curmudgeonly chap at Torino airport described it when we asked if he could open a bottle for tasting. What a male chauvinist! If Grignolino is for the ragazze, then it could only mean they have good taste. Only a few days ago Andrew Jefford sang its praises in the Financial Times. We rest our case. The heitz version from California is delicious by the way.
Hondarrabi Beltza. Like Afros Vinho Verde (Vinhão, aka Sousão), a savoury, aromatic mouthful. Great.
Juan Garcia. This was a recent discovery. Magnificent.
Moravia Agra. Moravia has been an obsession for quite some time. We have always drawn a blank with Spenish winemerchants but here in London, we found a wine at Green and Blue of which Moravia Agra was a major part of the blend. Based on the fact the wine tasted like no other and tasted good, we have bent the rules somewhat and we hail Moravia Agra as a member of the S.H.O.F.
Ribeyrenc. Our Variety of the year 2011/12 (see Slotovino Awards), this is a major find and ticks all the boxes. It is an ancient variety now reduced to a tiny area brought back practically from extinction by a brilliant winemaker (Thierry Navarre) and now producing the most wonderful and characterful wine imaginable. And we can say this after just one sip!
Tinta Barocca. Another old favourite, pre-dating this blog. It varies rather a lot between vintages but the most recent one, thanks to the Duty Free shop at Bergen Airport in Norway is just as we remember it at its best. We used to get it from the South African Wine centre in Wigmore Street in the good old days when you could go on to the Strand to the Australian Wine Centre, both now alas gone. The proponents of this fine variety are Allesverloren. Their Tinta Barocca was originally planted for Port type wines no doubt.
Tsimlyanskiy. We had a taste of this at the 2011 Wine fair at Excel and were impressed. One day we intend to make a trip to Russia and Ukraine to check out these interesting local varieties and visit the Magarach Wine Institute.
Xinomavro. We have had some we didn't like and some we did. On balance we are happy to admit this variety to our hallowed institution on the grounds that the grape itself is intrinsically fine.